Soul Steps speaks the language of rhythm. Founded in 2005 by Maxine Lyle, the company is based in the New York City area and showcases the African-American dance tradition known as "stepping" (not to be confused with Irish step dance!). Their mission is to expand the presence of stepping throughout the world while creating avenues for cultural exchange and awareness among diverse communities. Step started among African-American fraternities and sororities on college campuses as a means of unity and self-expression, and has deep roots in the migrant labor culture of South African gold mines. For close to a century, step dancers have used their bodies as percussive instruments to create a new physical language that inspires, celebrates and forges community. Soul Steps brings this explosive art form to the stage in a high-energy performance that combines percussive movement, hip-hop rhythms, and call and response. Their performances, residencies, and educational programming are suitable for all ages.
Soul Steps brings step everywhere! From school workshops in Brooklyn, to partnerships with U.S. Embassies throughout the world, to Paris Fashion Week, to a cameo in an indie rock band video, they embrace every opportunity to expose diverse communities to the magnetism and dynamic power of step. Credits include a feature in the Diesel Jogg Jeans promotional video, “The A-Z of Dance;” the historical Rick Owens runway show during Paris Fashion Week 2013; 2012 Abok I Ngoma International Dance Festival (U.S. Embassy partnership, Cameroon); Joyce SoHo, Every Little Step, a collaborative piece performed with Dance Theatre of Ireland (New York); Stepping in Remembrance, (U.S. Embassy commissioned September 11th commemorative piece, Dublin); Skena Up International Film and Theater Festival (U.S. Embassy partnership, Kosovo); New York Musical Theatre Festival (2007 and 2011); Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series; and a nationally aired MTVU promotional video. Soul Steps was named the 2010 Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities Cultural Artist of the year and was described in the New York Times as giving a performance that “excels in cross rhythms” (November 23, 2011, Joyce SoHo).
- Named APCA 2010 Cultural Artist of the Year
- Shot promo video for mtvU
- Featured in the Diesel Jeans viral sensation, “A-Z of Dance” with over 3.1 million views.
- Cameo appearance in the indie rock band music video, “Man on Fire” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
- Featured on Good Day NY and CBS News.
- Opened for esteemed artists such as Alvin Ailey and reggae legend Freddie McGregor
- Invited to the home of the U.S. Ambassador in Ireland to give a special performance for R&B legend Dionne Warwick and Samuel Jackson.